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Marshawn Lynch doesn’t always talk to the media. But when he does, it’s fascinating.
The most interesting man in the NFL (maybe a stretch, but he’s reaching that level quickly) has decided to speak in detail for the first time about the final offensive play for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. You know, the one that didn’t go to Lynch but did end up in the hands of New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Lynch spoke to — naturally — a Turkish journalist on the matter. He was in Turkey along with fellow NFLers DeAngelo Hall and Gary Barnidge. It turns out that Barnidge and New York Jets offensive tackle Breno Giacomini founded an international camp called American Football Without Barriers — a non-profit organization that supports the growth of American football in countries such as China, Brazil and Turkey.
So Ismail Senol of NTV Spor, Turkey’s leading sports network, sat down with Lynch, Wiliams and Barnidge to talk about their efforts. Eventually, during the 27-minute interview, the subject of the fateful play came up. In fact, Senol turned a fabulous Lynchism on its head when he prefaced the question with, loosely translated: “I have to ask this so I won’t get fined.”
Brilliant stroke. Here was Lynch’s unabridged comments on the matter:
“To be honest with you, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was expecting the ball. Yes, I was expecting the ball. But in life, these things happen. Like I told a reporter after the game, it’s a team sport.
“I had no problem with the decision of the playcalling. I mean, you know … I think it was more of a … how do I say this? When you look at me, and you let me run that ball in … I am the face of the nation. You know, MVP of the Super Bowl … that’s pretty much the face of the nation at that point of time. I don’t know what went into that call. I mean, maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t get the ball. I mean, you know, it cost us the Super Bowl. I mean, I have full … I have full confidence in my teammates to execute that plan because we’ve done it so many more times. But would I love to had the ball in? Yes, I would have.
“But the game is over, and I am in Turkey.”
Fear not — this is not where I say, “See, Marshawn? It’s that easy!”
But it is fascinating to hear his comments, spoken from the heart, thousands of miles away, without the white-hot glare of American media breathing down his neck. Hearing those words, it almost makes you believe that — like Jimmy Chitwood in “Hoosiers” — Lynch was not going to be denied had he gotten the ball.
Lynch and his fellow players in Turkey are receiving a lot of love for their goodwill in helping American football grow there. And it’s clear he’s a lot more comfortable speaking about that play, or anything else, in that setting.
We finally now have heard Lynch’s expanded thoughts on the most controversial and talked-about Super Bowl play in several years. And his thoughts were quite eloquent and revealing on the matter. We just had no idea it would take a Turkish TV crew to coax them out of him. Otherwise, we might never have known what Lynch felt at the time of the pivotal play.